Welcome back to Super Hero Synopses, where it’s nice to be getting back into Rider again following it’s one year hiatus after the end of Ex-Ai…huh? “Build”? What do you mean “Build?” What on Earth are you talking about?!
Kamen Rider Zi-O, Episode 02
“Best Match 2017”
Geiz continues to attack Sougo (Zi-O) but his finishing move is intercepted by Tsukuyomi. Sougo activates a Ride Watch that changes into his bike, and uses it to flee from the area. Geiz summons his own bike and quickly gives chase, but Sougo manages to hide and Geiz continues off down the road and away from him. While Geiz confronts Tsukuyomi for interfering with his assassination, Sougo once again encounters Woz. He explains that the Time Jackers intend on changing the timeline so that someone else becomes Oma Zi-O in Sougo’s place, who they can use as a puppet ruler. Woz insists he is the only one loyal to Sougo before vanishing once again.
Geiz and Tsukuyomi encounter Another Build, who survived his apparent destruction in the previous episode and continues to attack people in order to capture their essences. Geiz is reluctant to interfere until Tsukuyomi presses him into fighting the monster. Sougo returns to his uncle’s store to find Woz there again, who informs him that Geiz is fighting Another Build. Sougo immediately leaves to join the battle and arrives just in time to protect Geiz and Tsukuyomi from being hit by one of Another Build’s attacks. Sougo hits Another Build with his ‘Time Break’ Rider kick and destroys the monster, only for it to appear yet again.
Theorising that Build may have more luck against his grotesque counterpart, Sougo leaves Geiz to contain Another Build alone and goes to cafe Nascita. He arrives to find it has become themed around Taro Sato’s band Lynks. Sento (Build) and Ryuga (Cross-Z) arrive but neither of them recognise Sougo, and Sento is calling himself Takumi Katsuragi. As Geiz manages to deal yet another seemingly deadly blow to another Build, reality seems to shift and Sento and Ryuga both regain their memories of Sougo, and also seem to have gained Ride Watches themed after themselves. Recalling events that have not yet happened to Sougo, Sento hands over both Ride Watches and tells Sougo to say hi to him in the past.
Sougo returns to Geiz, who is getting pretty exhausted by the battle. Sougo hands Geiz the Cross-Z Ride Watch and tells him that he believes they have to travel back one year to defeat Another Build in the year of his creation. The two board the Time Mazines and travel back to the previous November.
Another Build absorbs the essence of two athletes and declares that their Bottle, swimmer and archer, are a Best Match. Sento and Ryuga arrive and Another Build introduces itself as Build, before identifying Ryuga as Cross-Z and attempts to embrace him while claiming they are also a Best Match, to the envy of Sento. The duo transform and begin to fight but almost immediately discover that their powers are glitching and fading. Another Build swallows the Swimmer and Archer Bottles in order to use their powers, allowing him to “swim” through solid ground to evade the Riders and summon a bow and arrow to attack them from afar.
Sougo and Geiz arrive on the scene. They run towards their fellow Riders only for time to freeze and a Time Jacker called Wool to appear. He introduces himself and explains that he prevented the car crash that would have left the athlete near death by turning him into Another Build. He believes that he has stopped the young man’s frozen time, but Sougo disagrees. He uses his uncle’s analogy from the first episode to explain that life is not like a clock and a person’s time only moves through their own volition. Geiz seems impressed but Wool shrugs it off and walks away, allowing time to flow normally again.
Sougo and Geiz transform together and all four Riders face Another Build. However Sento and Ryuga soon find that their powers fade completely, leaving the two rookies to continue fighting. Another Build uses his Swimming Bottle powers again and causes Sougo to sink into the ground, but Geiz summons his Ghost armour and uses it’s power to rescue him. Sougo contemplates using the Build Ride Watch and Woz surprises him by appearing from nowhere to dramatically narrate the event of him first using a previous Rider’s powers. Sento walks over intending to deliver his catchphrase and pose with Sougo, only to be disappointed when Sougo has no idea what it is.
The Build powers prove effective against Another Build, although when Sougo attempts to shake his shoulder “bottles” he finds that the CGI equations that typically accompanied Sento are instead random phrases indicating Sougo’s lack of mathematical skills. He uses Build’s ‘Time Break’ finisher while Geiz fires a ‘Brink Shot’ from his Jikan Zaxe, and Another Build is finally destroyed. The athlete who became him is returned to the scene of his car accident, though he avoids being hit this time.
Sougo approaches Sento and Ryuga to give them blank Ride Watches, but it seems time has still not been restored to normal as Sento still believes himself to be Takumi Katsuragi. Sougo explains to Geiz that he still believes Takumi and Ryuga will become Build and Cross-Z and activate the blank Ride Watches in time to give them to him in a year. Meanwhile The veteran Riders walk off into the sunset, and for once Ryuga notices when his fly is undone and corrects it without being prompted.
Back in the present day, Tsukuyomi and Geiz debate whether or not Sougo will become Oma Zi-O. The next morning Sougo wakes up to find that his uncle has rented an upstairs room out to the duo from the future. Geiz makes it clear to Sougo that they are monitoring him and if they believe he will still become the Demon King he will kill him, but Sougo remains upbeat about the situation. Meanwhile, in the pediatrics department of a nearby hospital a familiar doctor is hard at work…
Minisode: Episode 2.5
“Rules of The World”
Each week’s regular episode is accompanied by a short minisode that appears on Toei’s Official Tokusatsu Fanclub streaming site. I don’t intend to cover them all but this week’s seems worth mentioning as it establishes three rules which certainly seemed to govern the events of the main episode, and could provide the framework for all the future episodes surrounding the previous Heisei Riders.
1. Multiple instances of the same Rider’s power cannot exist at the same time.
This is how the show explains all the screwy things that happen regarding Sento’s identity changes and power loss within the main episode. While Another Build is around he is Build, and all of the events of Sento’s life are undone. The moments when Geiz temporarily defeated Another Build would also briefly restore the timeline and Sento’s memories. However, Sougo’s ownership of the Build Ride Watch gives him the power of Build, and as long as he keeps it the timeline remains distorted. As this minisode puts it, “It’s like Build, the show, didn’t exist at all.”
2. Another Riders can only be defeated using the same Rider’s power.
Another Build kept re-spawning because of this rule. However, the first rule means that the original Rider cannot destroy their distorted duplicate, so Sougo and Geiz will have to continue collecting past Rider powers to defeat the Another Riders despite the implications of them doing so.
3. Don’t ask unnecessary questions about adult circumstances.
“Adult circumstances” is Toei’s way of referring to limitations brought about by production limitations (usually that they couldn’t afford to do something). In this episode of Zi-O, when Sento reverts to Takumi Katsuragi he doesn’t regain his original face because that would have required them to also hire Katsuragi’s actor, which would have been an additional cost. This rule is the ‘handwave’ where they acknowledge that a lot of the cast members you might expect to see in a setting won’t appear, and we should expect that in advance.
Two episodes after his own show ended, it’s finally time for Sento to walk off into the sunset. Of course, there’s still the summer movie for those of us who couldn’t make it to Japanese cinemas, along with the post-season specials. Personally, I also hope that Zi-O will eventually find a way to restore his timeline as part of it’s overarching story. I must admit to being a little deflated that the ‘celebration’ of 20 years of Heisei Rider began by deleting one of those seasons from history. But for now, it’s time to play a different game.
What did you think of this opening story? Did you enjoy the time travel-related shenanigans or are you more of a stickler for continuity? Do you think this is representative of how it will treat the other Heisei shows or will they try other ideas too? Please come and share your thoughts on this series’ opening two-parter us in our forum or over on our Facebook page.